Friday, July 23, 2010

Famous Pinoy painter passes away

This is one of the famous paintings of Joey Velasco along with this one.

The children in this painting are real street kids of Manila.


MANILA, Philippines - In 2005, weighed down by a life-threatening kidney ailment, businessman Joey Velasco found a way to distract himself from pain and misery--by clinging to the healing power of art.

In his website (, Velasco's friends posted a statement saying he suffered from a heart attack and seizures days ago. [His other paintings can be seen on his website too.]

He had been battling kidney problems for years and lost his left kidney.

Velasco was an entrepreneur who started painting to deal with the depression brought about by his illness.

"Ang laging binubulong sa akin ng wife ko noon, [what my wife always whispers to me was to] surrender to the Lord, full surrender. Nanghingi po ako sa kanya ng lubid para makawala. [I was asking for a rope from him so that I can escape.] Metaphorically, hindi siya nagbigay ng rope. [He did not give me the rope.] He dangled a paintbrush and I grabbed it. Doon, liwanag. [There.  Light.] New life," he said in an interview on Probe Profiles.

He specialized in religious art and was called a "heartist" for depicting Jesus in everyday Filipino life.

His newfound devotion brought him serenity, and this was manifested in his art.

Inspired by the Last Supper, he made his first and most notable piece "Hapag ng Pagasa" [Table of Hope, the painting above.] in 2005, out of a lesson he wanted to teach his children about the value of food .He recast the theme by having Christ share a meal with street children.

In 2006, the work won the Catholic Mass Media Awards.

But there was more to the work.

"Ang na feel ko, [What I felt was] my painting can communicate to the soul. Everyday, kung sinong makakitang tao, [whoever I see] same pattern of question, how can I give my share, how can I contribute. Di ko maassemble yung sarili ko e. [I cannot gather myself] Sila talaga bumubuo-buo ng piraso ko. [They are the ones who make my entire paradise.] Nahanap ko yung sarili ko na ito pala ang magbibigay ng meaning sa buhay," he said. [I found myself and realized that this will be the one to give meaning to my life.]

Eventually, following a vow he first made to help the children who helped him, donations came.

Filled with new inspiration and without any formal training, Velasco churned out religious painting, more than 100 of them in 5 years.

Word spread about his artwork.

Aware of his own mortality, he found meaning in every experience.

He also wrote books, produced short films, and engrossed himself in sculpture.

"For a long time, di na ako nagsusuot ng relos e, [I don't wear a watch.] I don't live chronologically, by time. I live by the moment," Velasco said. "Whenever I paint, I consider it my last obra. Takot na takot po ako. Pero ngayon, hindi na." [I was so afraid before.  But now, I am not.]

Friends and fans grieve for the passing of the artist on Tuesday.

Velasco's works are living proof of an enduring faith that saw him to the end, when he finally came face to face with his maker, the one who inspired his art.


President Noynoy Aquino took the time off from his hectic schedule to pay his respects.  See here.

May I request everyone to pray for the eternal repose of Joey Velasco.

Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.

If Thou, O Lord, shalt observe iniquities; Lord, who shall endure it?
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness:
and by reason of Thy law, I have waited for Thee, O Lord.
My soul hath relied on His word; my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him plentiful redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel from all her iniquities.
Eternal rest give unto Joey Velasco, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.  Amen.
May  Joey Velasco's soul and the soul of all faithful departed 
through the mercy of God rest in peace.  Amen.

Let us pray.
O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful,
grant to the soul of Your servant 
Joey Velasco the remission of all his sins, 
that through our pious supplication, he and all the departed 
may obtain that pardon which they have always desired; 
You who live and reign for ever and ever.  Amen.

Eternal rest give unto Joey Velasco, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.  Amen.
May  Joey Velasco's soul and the soul of all faithful departed 
through the mercy of God rest in peace.  Amen.

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